3 Top Dividend Stocks to Maximize Your Retirement Income …

Strange but true: seniors fear death less than running out of money in retirement.

And unfortunately, even retirees who have built a nest egg have good reason to be concerned – with the traditional approaches to retirement planning, income may no longer cover expenses. That means retirees are dipping into principal to make ends meet, setting up a race against time between dwindling investment balances and longer lifespans.

Your parents’ retirement investing plan won’t cut it today.

Years ago, investors at or close to retirement could put money into fixed-income assets and depend on appealing yields to generate consistent, solid pay streams to fund a comfortable retirement. 10-year Treasury bond rates in the late 1990s floated around 6.50%, but unfortunately, those days of being able to exclusively rely on Treasury yields to fund retirement income are over.

While this yield reduction may not seem drastic, it adds up: for a $1 million investment in 10-year Treasuries, the rate drop means a difference in yield of more than $1 million.

And lower bond yields aren’t the only potential problem seniors are facing. Today’s retirees aren’t feeling as secure as they once did about Social Security, either. Benefit checks will still be coming for the foreseeable future, but based on current estimates, Social Security funds will run out of money in 2035.

So what can retirees do? You could dramatically reduce your expenses, and go out on a limb hoping your Social Security benefits don’t diminish. On the other hand, you could opt for an alternative investment that gives a steady, higher-rate income stream to supplant lessening bond yields.

Invest in Dividend Stocks

Dividend-paying stocks from low-risk, high-quality companies are a smart way to generate steady and reliable attractive income streams to replace current low risk, low yielding Treasury and bond options.

For example, AT&T and Coca-Cola are income stocks with attractive dividend yields of 3% or better. Look for stocks like this that have paid steady, increasing dividends for years (or decades), and have not cut their dividends even during recessions.

A rule of thumb for finding solid income-producing stocks is to seek those that average 3% dividend yield, and positive yearly dividend growth. These stocks can help combat inflation by boosting dividends over time.

Here are three dividend-paying stocks retirees should consider for their nest egg portfolio.

Carnival (CCL) is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.5 per share, with a dividend yield of 4.01%. This compares to the Leisure and Recreation Services industry’s yield of 0% and the S&P 500’s yield of 1.79%. In terms of dividend growth, the company’s current annualized dividend of $2 is flat compared to last year.

CyrusOne (CONE) is paying out a dividend of 0.5 per share at the moment, with a dividend yield of 3.05% compared to the REIT and Equity Trust – Other industry’s yield of 4.15% and the S&P 500’s yield. Taking a look at the company’s dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $2 is up 8.7% from last year.

Currently paying a dividend of 0.38 per share, Brinker International (EAT) has a dividend yield of 3.64%. This is compared to the Retail – Restaurants industry’s yield of 0% and the S&P 500’s current yield. Looking at dividend growth, the company’s current annualized dividend of $1.52 is flat compared to last year.

But aren’t stocks generally more risky than bonds?

The fact is that stocks, as an asset class, carry more risk than bonds. To counterbalance this, invest in superior quality dividend stocks that not only can grow over time but more significantly, can also decrease your overall portfolio volatility with respect to the broader stock market.

Combating the impact of inflation is one advantage of owning these dividend-paying stocks. Here’s why: many of these stable, high-quality companies increase their dividends over time, which translates to rising dividend income that offsets the effects of inflation.

Thinking about dividend-focused mutual funds or ETFs? Watch out for fees.

If you prefer investing in funds or ETFs compared to individual stocks, you can still pursue a dividend income strategy. However, it’s important to know the fees charged by each fund or ETF, which can ultimately reduce your dividend income, working against your strategy. Do your homework and make sure you know the fees charged by any fund before you invest.

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